The Ohio State women’s basketball team showed no signs of a holiday hangover while blasting VCU 88-50 in Columbus on Thursday night.
Tayler Hill, Raven Ferguson and Aleksandra Dobranic all scored in double figures and 11 of the 12 active Buckeyes registered a field goal in the rout of the Rams (6-7).
The 24th-ranked Buckeyes (9-3) did not waste much time taking control in the first half.
They jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a free throw by center Ashley Adams and three consecutive layups by power forward Dobranic.
Robyn Parks got the Rams on the board for the first time with a pair of free throws at the 16:35 mark, but Ohio State scored the next nine points to open up a 16-2 lead.
After a jumper by Adams, the Buckeye backcourt took the baton as Ameryst Alston hit a three-pointer from the right wing, Amber Stokes connected on a mid-range jumper and Tayler Hill closed the run with a layup.
Every Buckeye starter had a basket before the Rams scored their first field goal, a jumper by Parks that made it 16-4 at the 12:37 mark. Janniina Koivunen added a three-pointer 46 seconds later to cut the Rams’ deficit to nine, but that was as close as they would get in the half.
Ohio State ripped off an 19-7 run over the next five-plus minutes.
Hill started the spurt with a jumper at the 11:08 mark and later had a three-pointer before it was over. Reserve forward Martina Ellerbe had six points on a trio of layups while reserve guard Raven Ferguson added five points. Stokes capped the run with a three-point play that made it 35-14 with 6:42 and gave the Buckeyes their first lead of more than 20.
Ohio State led 47-21 at the break with Hill leading all scorers with nine points. Dobranic and Ellerbe added six apiece while Stokes, Ferguson and Alston all had five.
The Buckeyes shot 57.1 percent (20 for 35) from the field while holding the Rams to just 22.2 percent (6 for 27).
“They took away pretty much everything we wanted to do,” said VCU head coach Marlene Stallings. “They forced us into some bad shots and we missed them.
Ohio State erased any notion of a Ram rally early in the second half by outscoring the visitors 25-9 in the 11 minutes after intermission.
All five starters had a hand in the spurt as Hill tallied 11 points, Adams and Dobranic added four apiece, Stokes had two and Alston managed one. Ferguson also added three along the way.
The last basket in the spurt was a Hill trey that made it 72-30 with 11:04 to go. That would be the largest lead for the Buckeyes, who never trailed in the contest.
Hill finished with 20 points while Ferguson added 15 and Dobranic had a career-high 14 for the Buckeyes while Parks and Loivunen added 13 apiece for the Rams.
Stallings, who remains the state of Ohio’s all-time leading prep scorer after tallying 3,514 points at Beaver Eastern, expects the experience in front of 3,275 fans at Value City Arena to help her team as it prepares for its first season in the Atlantic 10.
“I would like to commend Ohio State,” she said. “They are a very talented team, obviously. They have some great players. We knew we had our hands full coming into tonight. They just outperformed us on every level tonight.”
The Buckeyes shot 56.9 percent (37 for 65) from the floor and made 9 of 21 three-pointers (42.9 percent). They topped the visitors in every statistical category but free-throw percentage, but Hill thought the most admirable number was the assist-to-field-goal ratio of 26 to 37.
“That has been a point of emphasis since the beginning of the year,” said the senior, who became the 11th Buckeye to score at least 1,600 points in a career. “I think today we did a good job finding the gaps and hitting open shots but that was because we were able to get the ball reversed.”
Ohio State head coach Jim Foster was happy to see his team return from a five-day layoff looking sharp but did not sound surprised.
“We were where we needed to be between the ears,” he said.
The game served as the first on a new court at Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes close out the nonconference slate Sunday with a visit from Howard. That game will tip off at 2 p.m. from the VCA in Columbus.